Living With Honour

Living With Honour

A Pagan Ethics

This nature-revering Pagan philosopher responds to issues such as abortion, euthanasia, or animal exploitation.


Living With Honour is a provocative, articulate and uncompromising exploration of how Paganism can provide the philosophical guidance to live honourably in a twenty-first Western society. It covers the history of Paganism, its undercurrents of anarchy, heresy, environmentalism and animism, finding its place within the history of Western philosophy. Author Emma Restall Orr addresses key moral issues from that animistic perspective, beginning with the foundation of human relationships and attitudes towards the Other, and explores the factors that hinder ethical action. This is a comprehensive guide to moral living from a Pagan perspective.

"Excellent... provides a new kind of ethics, founded on some very old human truths" ~ Professor Ronald Hutton, author and world expert on Paganism.


A book on pagan ethics is a difficult book to write, and also to read. I had to read it twice. Not to say that Living With Honour - A Pagan Ethics by Emma Restall Orr isn't well written and engaging. But it is hard, this reviewer thinks, to tackle such a subject without being preachy and self-righteous, without laying down the law. Orr manages to stay on the right side of this, with the gravitas of philosophers ancient and modern as her guides. Living With Honour is a brave and cohesive book, and a very good book, appearing at just the right time. ~ Caroline Wise, Mirror of Isis

If Emma Restall Orr's words do not stir you then your soul has been numbed by the concrete and clay and greed of this world. Wake up and enjoy the hope, smell the roses along the way, read this book for it is a small start to regaining your true heritage. Here is a heart's outpouring of what life and living should be about. Truly one not to be missed ~ Barbara Venn-Lever, radio host My Spirit Radio and author of Tarot for the Curious Spirit

Emma Restall Orr has broken new ground as the first author to dissect, examine and critically position natural Pagan ethics within its broader cultural and philosophical context. Scholarly and comprehensive in its depth of examination, the author adeptly navigates through the rich heritage of influential philosophers and thinkers whose work has sculpted and continues to shape our understanding of nature, reason, humanity and relationship. From Immanuel Kant to Arthur Shopenhauer, Peter Singer, and many more, each thinker provides a touchstone for exploring how a sensitive relationship with nature can form the basis of a Pagan ethics. The book tackles some difficult questions and dilemmas: How does the nature-revering Pagan, grounded firmly in their philosophy, respond to issues such as abortion, euthanasia, or animal exploitation? How have we formed an understanding of consciousness, freedom, sanctity, responsibility, and how are these expressed in the way we live? Faced with global environmental crises, how can we craft our nature-based values into sustainable relationships that form an intelligent and effective response to the problems? Restall Orr may come across as authoritative at times, and readers should prepare to have their assumptions challenged. This is not a comfortable book. It is intentionally provocative, deeply questioning, and essentially motivating. It expertly addresses a gaping hole in the Pagan literature, and as such, its significance should not be underestimated. For the practitioner, this book asks: What does 'walking the talk' really look like? And, importantly, are you ready for it? Though of certain interest to scholars and academics, this is a crucial read for every nature-honouring Pagan committed to a critical reflexivity of their Craft. Honest, courageous, wholly necessary, and probably one of the most important texts on modern Paganism to come out of the 21st century. This book carries enough bite to stir us all into wakefulness. ~ , Druid Network

My first feeling, on hearing of this title, was excitement and relief - at last, one of the pagan community's best respected leaders was speaking about ethics from a point of view other than the Wiccan Rede. I therefore had high expectations, and may I say from the beginning, these expectations were entirely fulfilled. This book should count as one of the best non-scholarly treatments of ethics by in print today. I was impressed at how well someone who admits she is not an academic was able to describe the complex ideas of these important philosophers. It's a very impressive tour, and I'm very happy that she has addressed herself to these socially and politically important topics. Paganism would become an insular and ignorable religious movement if it restricted itself to discussing spellcraft and magic and its own internal problems. I'm pleased to recommend this book to anyone who wants more, and better, food for thought than is available in the regular run of Pagan publishing. It is high time that Pagan writers addressed themselves to the really important, universal questions, as Restall-Orr has done. Indeed this is a book to offer to non-pagans who are skeptical, or worried, about what paganism stands for. Living with Honour¬Ě recognises the things that matter, and stands up for them. ~ Spring Equinox

This is an excellent pioneering work, erudite, courageous and imaginative, that provides a new kind of ethics, linked to a newly appeared complex of religions, which are founded on some very old human truths. ~ Professor Ronald Hutton, world expert on paganism and author of The Triumph of the Moon and many other titles

This is a lively, sensible and careful attempt to make sense of some very confusing, and yet important, areas of modern thought. I particularly like the clear style and the attention that the author gives to parts of the historical background which are usually misunderstood. I think the book should interest a wide audience. ~ Mary Midgley, philosopher, author of Science as Salvation and many other works

Knowledgeable and authoritative...beautifully articulated, and worth a place on any green person's bookshelf, whether a practising pagan or not. ~ Greenspirit

Living with Honour is a courageous attempt to deliver something that has not been offered by a pagan author before! A realistic and thoroughly honest evaluation of the path she has made her own. Potential readers will be sent on a breathtaking journey into the oft misunderstood world(s) of paganism and what it actually means to take that world seriously: to live in it, celebrate it, dance with it, argue with it, and allow its charms as well infuriations to mold one's life. This book will help any reader not just to understand paganism at a deeper level, but also to make meaning out of life on this beautiful, yet messy and painful planet. The author leaves no stone un-turned and, while seeing all such stones as strangely sacred, does not shirk at offering necessary criticisms as well as hearty praise. Finally, as with all of Bobcat's books, this volume is written with poetry and warm humanity that makes it sumptuous and quite uncommon for the world of theoretical non-fiction. ~ Mark Townsend, priest, magician and author of The Wizard's Gift, The Magician's Tale and other titles

Emma Restall Orr surprised me constantly in this book, not least because I found myself completely agreeing with her for so much of it. It sets out to describe a more detailed set of ethics for pagans beyond the few quotable lines that most of us use - the Wiccan Rede, the Noble Virtues of Asatru, or a Druid order's set of tenets. Finding something which covers every group in the very wide umbrella term neopaganism should be impossible, but the author comes closer to doing so than anyone else I have seen so far....... This is a fascinating book, and an important one for Neopaganism. Ronald Hutton called it an excellent pioneering work, erudite, courageous and imaginative¬Ě. I would add humane, comprehensive, and above all, honourable. ~ Stephen Blake, Esoteric Book Review

Emma Restall Orr
Emma Restall Orr Emma Restall Orr (aka Bobcat) is one of the most well-known Druids worldwide. She worked for the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids and was J...
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